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EU envoy to discuss Russia's accession to WTO in Moscow

Gunter Verheugen, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Enterprise and Industry, is arriving in Moscow Monday to discuss Russia's accession to the WTO. 

Russia signed a protocol on the conclusion of bilateral talks for its entry into the world trade club with Guatemala June 26, with Vietnam July 6, and now has to complete negotiations with Cambodia, and reach agreements with Georgia and Saudi Arabia. Russia expects WTO membership to promote further its market reform and ensure better transparency, as well as provide a secure business environment for trade and investment. Membership will also help Russia diversify its economy, participate in projects to develop future common trade rules and safeguard its interests.

During his visit to Moscow, Verheugen will meet with Russian Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko and representatives of European companies operating in Russia. Khristenko will also discuss with the EU representative the issue of an industrial and regulatory dialogue between Russian and the European Union, the ministry said.

Russia is the EU's third largest trading partner. According to the European Statistics Office Eurostat, the export of goods to Russia from the EU increased from €22.7 billion ($31 billion) to €72.4 billion ($99 billion) and imports into the European Union from Russia grew from €63.8 billion ($87 billion) to €140.6 billion ($193 billion) between 2000 and 2006. (